TheNew York Times film critic Lena Wilson raised several eyebrows last week with her review of the new horror film Bodies, Bodies, Bodies—including those of its star, Amandla Stenberg, whose cleavage was specifically called out in Wilson's criticism.
When Stenberg hit back, shading Wilson in a DM about using her body to swipe at the film, a new controversy erupted in which Wilson accused Stenberg of homophobia for clapping back at her.
Both women are lesbians, and Stenberg is nonbinary and uses she/they pronouns.
In response to Wilson's accusations, Stenberg took to Instagram to defend her actions, as seen below, and fans are applauding her for clapping back at they see as a racist attack from Wilson.
In her video, Sternberg told Wilson:
“Lena, I thought your review was hilarious. I thought my DM was funny. I did not mean to harass you. I do not wish you any harm."
"You are allowed to have your criticism on my work and I’m allowed to have my criticisms of your work. I wish you the best.”
The controversy began when Wilson sniped that the film, which centers on a group of wealthy Gen Z friends being stalked by a killer, "doubles as a 95-minute advertisement for cleavage"--a reference to Stenberg's busty appearance.
In response, Stenberg DM'd Wilson on Twitter, shading her review's focus on Stenberg's chest. She wrote:
“Your review was great. Maybe if you had gotten your eyes off my tits you would’ve watched the movie!”
Stenberg said in her Instagram follow up that she meant the comment as a joke, but it was absolutely not received that way. Wilson posted screenshots of Stenberg's commentary to Twitter accusing the actor of homophobia.
In her tweets, Wilson, who has since gone private on Twitter, wrote:
“Do you think she Instagram DM’d [film critics] Alison Wilmore, Justin Chang, and Anthony Lane like this or…"
"always weird when the homophobia is coming from inside the house, but this is something.”
“I am devastated to have received this message..."
"I was a genuine huge fan of hers, but I’m posting this because I don’t want this person who has more social power than me to think that it’s fu*king OK to do something like this."
But Stenberg dismissed this, saying she intended her message as a good-natured snipe between two gay people in on the joke.
“I thought it was hilarious. I thought because Lena is gay, and I am also gay…as gay people we would both find this comment funny.
She also explained that commentary on her breasts like Wilson's is an extremely common occurrence, and once she finds tiresome.
“It’s quite surprising the amount of commentary I receive on my boobs... I do get tired of people talking about my chest. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted conversation about my chest.”
On Twitter, many found Wilson's response to Stenberg both overwrought and racist for the way it played into stereotypes of Black women as overly aggressive, and most were firmly on Stenberg's side.
Wilson has since gone private on social media and has yet to further comment on the backlash.